Op-Eds which regularly appear on the editorial pages of daily newspapers are opinion pieces which are written with the intention of influencing readers. On Tuesday, August 30, the Charleston Gazette-Mail published an Op-Ed titled: “Mainline Christians must retake the church from evangelicals.”
I found the title revealing in that it assigned ownership of the church to a group of individuals — evangelicals. Evangelicals, as the name suggests, are believers who seek to produce more believers. Not everyone characterizes evangelicals in this manner. The author of the article, Alan Rezek, links all evangelicals to the far right. Rezek defines evangelicals as a group which has seemingly rejected Christian values because they are “anti-choice.” Rezek characterizes the religious right as embracing war, white nationalism, discrimination, integration of church and state, and much more.
It is obvious that Rezek does not see evangelicals as evangelicals see themselves. Evangelicals see themselves as individuals who must answer to Christ and Christ alone. Rezek’s judgment has no standing.
Rezek ended his submission with, “Those outside the church fighting ideologies embraced by the religious right need the mainline Christian community to speak truth to power and recapture the face of Christianity.” After reading and re-reading this call to action, I was puzzled. Why would those outside the Christian community need the assistance of those inside the Christian community to change the face of Christianity? Is Rezek attempting to enlist Christians to oppose one another?
Mainline Christianity consists of numerous denominations because not all read scripture in like manner. Jesus did not condemn sinners. He urged the guilty to go and sin no more. Christ is the face which God would have all see.